Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It leads to inflammation, ulcers, and irritation of the digestive tract. Moreover, the condition irritates the innermost layer of the large intestines and rectum. Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system dysfunction. The mechanism that is designed to protect your body, in turn, attacks it. With the condition, the immune system perceives food or good colon bacteria as intruders and initiates a defensive mechanism, thus causing inflammation and ulcers to the colon.
The symptoms may not appear suddenly but over time. Currently, there is no known cure for ulcerative colitis. However, treatment and medication reduce signs and symptoms significantly. In severe cases, the disease can pose life-threatening complications. The most common risk factor is a family history if your family has a history of battling with the disease. Other factors include age (individuals from the age of 15 to 30 are more likely to be affected than individuals with 65 years). When diagnosed in the early stages, symptoms can be well managed. The following are some early signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis that you should look out for:
1. Abdominal pain
As indicated, the disease causes the immune system to attack the wall’s lining, causing inflammation. As a result, you may experience abdominal pains. At times you may experience mild symptoms, while at other times, you may have worse abdominal pains. Abdominal pains indicate symptoms of several diseases. However, if the symptom continues to persist, it’s because you may have developed the condition. Thus, seeking medical attention for the early diagnosis will help you manage the symptoms easily.
2. Diarrhoea or bloody stool
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from one individual to another. However, bloody stools or diarrhea is a primary symptom since it’s a large intestine condition. The degree of diarrhea or bloody stool depends on the level of inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. The symptom may be accompanied by other symptoms such as urgent bowel movements, constipation, and bloody stools that may appear to be red, pink, or tarry. While bloody stools indicate several complications, persistent ones may mean that you have developed UC. Thus, seeking medical intervention is crucial so that you can manage the symptom easily.
3. Weight loss
Weight loss in ulcerative colitis usually occurs due to the loss of appetite. Weight loss indicates a lack of enough calories in your body. Moreover, the condition is mostly associated with diarrhea. As a result, nutrients gained from food are either lost through diarrhea or intestinal bleeding. Research shows a relationship between low levels of hunger and individuals who have Ulcerative Colitis due to poor appetite. The appetite is lost because the immune system perceives food in the large intestines as intruders. When the condition is diagnosed at an early stage, the symptom can be mitigated.
4. Rectal pain or bleeding
As indicated, Ulcerative Colitis leads to the large intestines’ inflammation and the rectum’s inner lining. This leads to damage and irritation of the rectum. You will experience rectal pain when you pass stool. In some cases, it is accompanied by bleeding. Thus, it is crucial to seek medical intervention once you begin to experience such symptoms.